Saturday, March 17, 2012

Healing Ministry of Jesus

And when Jesus entered Peter's house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
(Matthew 8:14-17)

Matthew 8 depicts Jesus with power and authority over sicknesses, demons, and even nature:
  • He heals the leper Matthew 8:1-4
  • Heals the paralyzed servant of the centurion Matthew 8: 5-13
  • He heals Peter's mother-in-law Matthew 8: 14-17
  • He took our illnesses and bore our diseases. A reference to Isaiah’s prophecy of the servant (Isaiah 53), focusing on Jesus’ messianic role as healer (see Isa. 53:5).
  • He calms a deadly storm Matthew 8: 23-27
  • He heals two demon possessed men Matthew 8:28-32
What are we to believe about the healing ministry of Jesus? Are the above incidents unique to the ministry of Christ, never to be repeated, or is he still working through his church?

These controversial questions arise as to whether gifts of healing have ceased in the church. Particularly in the wake of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, these questions have divided Christians into two camps: cessationists (those believe that the gifts of healing, etc. have ceased), and noncessationists. 

Some believe that healing was nothing more than a sign of the kingdom of heaven. His healing ministry drew people into his orbit to hear his message and believe that he was the coming Messiah. 

After his resurrection and ascension, Jesus charged the early apostles with the task of preaching the gospel and making disciples. The apostles laid the foundation of faith for the building of the church and therefore, signs of healing are no longer expected.

I do not share this view. Before his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus promised, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

I believe that Jesus did ascend to God. Jesus is with his church in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. His presence and power are working through his church and he is still healing people today. 

When he was on earth he did not heal every person (Matthew 13: 57-58). In the same way, those who practice the healing ministry of Jesus should not expect to heal every person who comes to them for help.

Ultimately, God’s plan must be done. Physical healing is not the ultimate miracle. The greatest miracle remains transformation of the human heart from darkness to light, from sin to salvation.

Thank God for the coming promise of Jesus, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).”

A day is coming when there will be no more sickness, or pain, or brokenness: and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

The ultimate healing is to be home free, in the presence of God.